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Blog Archive: January 2011

The Pop Art Fifth Birthday All-Dayer
I rolled up in Bloomsbury on Sunday full of EXCITEMENT and laden down with PROPS, ready for the second of TWO all-dayers taking place at the Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes in honour of the Pop-Art Collective's fifth birthday. I was very very happy to have been asked to be part of it, as they are a DELIGHTFUL bunch of people who always organise BRILLIANT gigs and was RIGHT looking forward to it.

I arrived to find Mr S Hewitt occupying a seat at the bar and together we enjoyed Keith Top Of The Pops And His Minor UK Indie Celebrity All-Star Backing Band being VERY LOUD INDEED. It was the first time I'd seen them when they sounded like how i EXPECTED they'd sound before i HAD ever seen them... if you see what I mean. It was VERY GRATE as well as volumistic, also PUNK. The only bit of it i DIDN'T like was when Keith asked if anyone had a guitar he could borrow. I LEAPT out with my travel guitar and PEOPLE OPENLY CHUCKLED! All right, it does look a bit small and it IS acoustical and so appears DAINTY amongst the eight electrical guitars it would be joining, but I would also point out that it FED BACK more LOUDLY than ANYTHING else on that stage! HA! And so he didn't use it after all, but still: that guitar is ROCK!

After that most of us moved into the side room for The Rees Review - "Leicester's Funny Man" Mr Dave Rees was intent on doing a TALK SHOW and had enlisted me, Mr David Barnett and Les From Carter to come and chat with him. To be completely totally honest I thought it was going to be a bit rubbish, but he FORCED it into happening and, actually, once we got going it was dead good! Dave had BRILLIANTLY placed an AGENDA for the CHAT in the middle of the chairs, so we all knew what was coming and - CRUCIALLY - how much was left to do, and the three of us seemed to very quickly get over feeling A Bit Awkward and DID IT PROPERLY. We talked of heroes, record shops, how to put records out online, band reunions and ALL sorts, i completely enjoyed, especially sitting with and listening to the other two. WHAT a good idea, give that man a TV series!

And then it was time for my GIG - this is what i did:

  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • Hey Hey 16K
  • The Gay Train
  • Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid
  • Work's All Right (if it's a proper job)
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • Perhaps foolishly i went into this WITHOUT setlist, which is always a bit risky as I often end up trying to work out what to play next whilst still in the middle of a song and forget the words, but it seemed to go OK this time - I knew what I was starting with (as usual) and then I'd talked about Hey Hey 16K in The Rees Review so thought I'd do it (I don't seem to play it very often anymore, for some reason) whihc led on to The Gay Train and then it was downhill to the Traditional Ending. I did Work's All Right (if it's a proper job) because someone ASKED for it and, once again, forgot the chords to the middle so got everyone to CLAP ALONG. That seemed to work out OK, and it led to some ACE joining in from all present for the rest of the set and a HECK of a lot of ME GABBLING ON. I seem to recall speaking at SOME LENGTH in an NEW YOIK accent, and also making MERRY with regards to an announcement that Mr Rees had made about The Laurel COllective needing an extra person for BOWLS. It seemed like a good idea at the time, people seemed happy and i CERTAINLY was!

    After that we came PERILOUSLY close to winning on Indie Bingo, then Steve went off to ANOTHER gig while I popped round the corner to drop my guitar off at work and go and have some TEA. I fancied a Chinese BUFFET but it was CLOSED, so i had CURRY instead. That might seem an excellent trade off, but it was one of those DOSA places, where everything is Quite Nice but just not as much FUN as proper/traditional CURRY style curries.

    Back to the bowling lanes I went and soon it was time for the GRAND FINALE: The Pop-Art Allstars! I had been out SHOPPING in the week to get some PROPS and so wandered around the audience handing people PARTY POPPERS and occasionally BUBBLE WANDS read, in order to make my song - "Live And Let Die", by Paul McCartney - EVEN MORE AMAZING than it already was. I was on third, and GOODNESS ME but it actually seemed to WORK! I was going to give people Proper Instructions on what to do, but ended up saying "Here is one party popper for the first time, and one for the second" and GOOD LORD it all worked out - the first "Live and let DIE", when Macca sets off the fireworks, saw a similar EXPLOSION of Party Poppers, then there were MANY BUBBLES during the instrumental sections, and mass SINGALONG for the reggae section (much to my relief, as it was A Bit Too High For My Voice) and the ANOTHER explosion of party popping for the final section. HOORAH!

    I then settled back for the rest of the gig with the highpoint, as ever, being Mr Solo, this time GRABBING "Modern Love" and making it entirely his own. It was AMAZING, and I staggered out once it was all over with a MIGHTY GRIN all over my face which lasted all the way back to Leytonstone. They ALWAYS do a good night, do the Pop Art Kids, and this was the very EPITOME of a good night. Well done team!

    posted 31/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Language Of Music
    I stomped manfully across town to Old Street last night, there to take part in a rehearsal for the Pop Art Allstars, with whom i shall be ROCKING OUT at the Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes tomorrow. I've been invited along every time I've been BOOKED to sing with them, but this was the first time I'd been able to make it, so i was quite EXCITED.

    Also a bit nervous, especially when I got to the street where the studio was meant to be and realised I hadn't brought the street number with me. Luckily I discovered Metal Tom asking a Back of a Warehouse Smoker if HE knew where the studio was, and together we retraced our steps to a door from which MUSICIANS were emerging, and realised we'd found it.

    Soon we were upstairs and in the studio - it's AGES since I was last in a rehearsal studio, but I was very pleased to find that THEY HAVEN'T CHANGED THE SMELL. Aaah, the heady aroma of sweat, beer, sweat, arguments and sweat! Everyone was in full swing doing a run through of "All Right" by Supergrass, which sounded MARVELLOUS. They then swapped instruments and tuned up, during which it was revealed that TUNING HAS CHANGED! Apparently SOMEONE decided to change concert pitch from 39 Hertz to 40 Hertz... or something like that, i didn't really understand, but still: WHAT? Who did this? How was it decided? Why did The World Of ROCK not get a memo about it? It's a disgrace! Possibly.

    Next up was "Suffragette City" and, as they worked it out, I realised that i UNDERSTOOD what was going on. I could HEAR the parts where the drums were unsure what was coming, i could SEE which bits someone had REALLY practiced and was a bit nervous of, or which SOLO they'd known for years, and could FEEL the way everyone was relying on each other, leaning in together SONICALLY. It was amazing! For fifteen years or so I've only really played with The Validators so have just got USED to this sort of thing as What We Do, but being suddenly with OTHER people doing the same thing, speaking the same LANGUAGE, it was revelatory. Also, GRATE!

    Also also: it's always nice to see someone else, Dom in this case, being BOSSY and telling everyone else what they should be doing, which bits to do again and generally being in CHARGE. I always feel a bit (not a lot, but a bit) GUILTY when it's me doing that, so it's good to know it is THE NORM.

    And then it was MY turn to sing - i was a bit worried about the song I'd asked for as it is a bit COMPLEX but everyone seemed to know it REALLY well and, indeed, SANG ALONG with most of it. I was glad of this because it's a bit HIGH for me to sing (hopefully tomorrow BEER will aid me) but it sounded GRATE. I'll not reveal WHAT it was for now, in case anyone comes tomorrow and can be AMAZED by it - suffice to say, some of us were playing the original version and some the Guns N Roses, and it all worked together amazingly welll - SUCH is the POWER of The Language Of Music!

    posted 29/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Geekpop Preparations
    A couple of weeks ago i was VERY pleased to get an email from the lovely people at Geek Pop telling me that I'd been picked to play at their VIRTUAL FESTIVAL this year. I've applied to many many festivals over the years, but apart from Indietracks this is the ONLY time I've been successful (and yes, i have applied for indietracks again this year, but have NO WORD - i spend EVERY January and February in a FLAP about whether I'll get to play or not, and this year is no different!).

    As it's a VIRTUAL Festival it means that everyone's recording STUFF for them, rather than schlepping out to a field somewhere, which is EXTREMELY convenient, so I've been giving some thought about what I'd record. Do i have anything sufficiently geeky in my back catalogue, i wondered, which might fit? Aha! Yes, yes i DO! A LOT!

    The problem turned out to be what to leave out, rather than leave in, as they only need THREE songs. This problem was exacerbated somewhat by the fact that I am doing a DUET with the marvellous Vom Vorton aka Tom from Lardpony (it was his idea, and we are TOILING over the writing of it as we speak) but happily Tom has negotiated another, currently SECRET but EXCITING, location for that song. In the end I decided to do one obscure song (Never Been Superstitious) one as yet unreleased (A Little Bit and Hey Hey 16K. It's a festival - not doing your HIT at a festival is RUDE, especially when it's THIS kind of Festival and THAT kind of HIT!

    The event's not for ages yet, but yesterday I decided to get ON with it and start recording - I'm in one of those weird LULLS at the moment, when not much is actively going on but I'm THINKING and PLANNING for the huge amount of ACTION that's about to begin, so was experiencing that weird human emotion you call "slight boredom". It's not something that happens to me very often and i don't really LIKE it, so i thought this might help DISPEL the feeling. I was RIGHT!

    First of all I tackled Hey Hey 16K, which I re-recorded at a slightly slower pace, at more of an AMBLE. You know how usually when people do a Stripped Down Acoustic Version of a song, they just slow it down and sing a bit wistfully on it? Well, like THAT, except not so wistful. I put a TONNE of guitars on it tho, it was ACE!

    With that all mixed I moved on to Never Been Superstitious, the original version of which has some stuff on it that I'm not sure how i DID, not least the finger picking. All right, i know i COULD do it, but doing it RIGHT was giving me the STRESS, so i divided it up into two PARTS. The GUITAR did the... er... most GUITAR-Y bits, and then i did the bass notes on the BASS. HA! That showed it! I've not had the bass guitar out for AGES and, as usual, thoroughly enjoyed myself - one of my principal reasons for doing FAWM again this year was to give myself 14 chances to play BASS! It also had a WHISTLING SOLO which I just couldn't get the hang of, so did WEIRD COMPUTER NOISES instead. This too was FUN!

    At this point I had to go and make TEA, so will embark upon A Little Bit another time... possibly on the UKELELE. It was all ENORMOUS fun to do tho - the nice thing about MY songs is that they really are a piece of piss to play, chordwise at least, so you can spend your time fannying around with tambourines and KEYBOARDS instead of BARRE CHORDS. If i ever look bored again do remind me of this!

    posted 27/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Learn To Play (The Ukelele) The Hibbett Way!
    Every so often someone asks me how to learn the ukelele - clearly they think "That looks like someone who has JUST started to play the instrument - and I usually point them in the direction of some of the many many Easy Ukelele Song Sites on line. Occasionally, however, i think "If only they had one of the hand-made copies of A Million Ukeleles, which came with MY brief instructions on How To Play Ukelele, as well as CHORDS for most of the songs!

    Today on twitter someone asked this question and I thought "Hang on, i've GOT that as a PDF, so why don't I just stick it online?" So i HAVE, and it is here on the album's webpage to download. Nearly all the songs are VERY easily playable on a uke, and all of them are FAIRLY easy anyway, so (as long as you don't mind playing MY songs) it could be quite a handy introduction to how to play it, CHORD-WISE at least. If you want complicated fiddly bits, I refer you to The Bobby McGees!

    posted 26/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Autumn Store All-Dayer
    I met Mr S Hewitt on Saturday at the very civilised time of 2pm in the very civilised place The Euston Tap, the DELIGHTFUL craft beer pub just outside Euston Station. St Pancras may indeed by The Destination Station, but Euston has the EDGE on it as far as lovely pubs go - i mean the pub AT St Pancras is quite nice compared to MOST major London railway station pubs, but the Euston Tap has roughly A MILLION beers on tap, so is hard to beat!

    Having done our bit for THE CAUSE OF REAL BEER we hopped on to a horrible, badly designed (etc etc) Virgin Train (the first for AGES where i DIDN'T surprise someone mid-wee when visiting the appalling toilets) and were very soon in BIRMINGHAM, where we were booked to do a mid-afternoon showing of Dinosaur Planet for the Autumn Store's fifth birthday party. DUNC, Autumn Store IMPRESSARIO rang me to ask when we'd be arriving "In about 5 seconds" i said, walking up the stairs of The Victoria. It's a GRATE pub, in fact it's also the SAME pub that we were in at the end of last year when we ALSO did Dinosaur Planet, and it was good to be back.

    We dumped our stuff and wandered off to spend most of the rest of the day enjoying the mini-Indietracks that lay before us. It was ACE - the building was PACKED with lovely people I'd not seen for a while, and there was MUCH CHAT. Any area NOT full of lovely people was packed out with EITHER Delicious Beer OR Fantastic Flapjack, laid on especially. MAN ALIVE but it was nice!

    The first Musical Turn of the day for us was Vom Vorton, that marvellous gentleman formerly of Lardpony, and with whom I am currently collaborating on a tune for the Geekpop Virtual Festival, at which we shall both be playing. He was GRATE, of course, and I especially enjoyed hearing a few of the old Lardpony Tunes that i like so much, wheeled out into the live arena again.

    Next it was me and Steve - I was a bit worried about how it was going to work, as once again we were playing without Microphones. This is FINE when everybody's there on purpose to see US, and they're mentally and physically prepared i.e. SITTING DOWN, but i wasn't sure how this'd work with people who hadn't necessarily come for us. Thankfully it DID seem to work, not only did people stick around but there was MORE of them at the end than at the start! As usual with a more GIG-type audience, people took a bit longer to start LARFING (GIG people tend to be a bit WARY of whether it's OK to laugh or not, whereas as COMEDY people would, as the delightful old saying has it, laugh if there arse was on fire) but by the time Mrs G Podd came on to be our Special Guest i think we'd persuaded them that it was all right.

    Most importantly, WE enjoyed ourselves! We then fell into a thoroughly fun afternoon of more beer, a bit more flapjack, a LOT more larking around and talking nonsense, before heading upstairs for the ever groovy Pocketbooks, who were Playing Some New Material. It seems that, against all Indie Guidelines, it ISN'T going to take them five years to record their new album - ALERT THE AUTHORITIES!

    It was a brilliant day all round, topped off with the FRACAS i mentioned yesterday! I seem to be in the middle of a bit of a run of All-Dayers at the moment, it's turning out rather well!

    posted 25/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    A Lunchtime Stroll Around Mayfair
    As previously mentioned I am currently on a WALKING PROJECT which involves vaguely trying (a bit) to walk round central London, Boris Bike Depot Spotting. I know it probably doesn't sound the most GLAMOROUS of workday hobbies, but today's was FULL of FASCINATING (NB to a degree) incident.

    There was CELEBRITY! In Soho I came out of a Craft Supplies Shop (looking for WIGGLY EYES for Moon Horse props) and saw Tjinder From Cornershop! I would have gone over and said "Hello! Do you remember me from The Magazine Hotel in Leicester, where you briefly worked, and played a couple of gigs, and I drank at LENGTH, and played a couple of gigs?" but a) was pretty sure that he wouldn't, as he didn't LAST time i saw him about ten years ago b) I had just fallen over the STEP in a rather foolish fashion, and didn't want to make things worse. This was the second of THREE idiotic falls - for the entire hour of my walk i was dreading the THIRD trip, so when it came outside a Tat Shop on Oxford Street i LARFED with relief.

    There was ART! I'd seen someone reading a free paper on the tube this morning with an article about an interesting SCULPTURE outside The Dorchester Hotel, so thought I'd go and have a look. Here is a PHOTO of it:

    Car Sculpture outside The Dorchester

    COOL, huh? Tbe picture in the paper was much better than the above, as they'd done it so you thought at first that it was an ACTUAL child's hand holding a toy car. I wasn't the only one impressed - when I got to the traffic island to take the picture someone ELSE was already there doing the same, and as I left yet another took my place. It was GRATE!

    There was SOCIAL OBSERVATION! I couldn't help noticing that in Mayfair there were quite a few bike depots that appear on the map but haven't actually been BUILT yet. I also saw that there were a LOT more bicycles left unused at these depots than elsewhere in town. It seems to me almost as if Posh People don't a) use b) understand c) DESERVE nice bicycles like this - I know that this is partial, personal, unscientific poorly researched DATA that I am using, but HEY! that's what the entire future education policy is based on too, so it's clearly the sort of thing Tories like Boris would LOVE TO USE.

    Crikey tho, one couldn't help also noticing that Posh People look BLOODY WEIRD. I tell you what, if you dressed the population of WISBECH in Barbour jackets and red trousers you could swap them with The Upper Classes and NOBODY WOULD KNOW THE DIFFERENCE. That's the MARVEL of in-breeding, if you do it long enough it doesn't matter who you interbreed WITH, EVERYBODY looks like a Farmer who's never been to the big city of Ely/a Baronet.

    It was quite a relief to get back to SOHO, where at least people look ridiculous ON PURPOSE, and almost bump into a camera crew, SCREECHING about how wonderful someone looked. That London! City of RUMNESS and FUN!

    posted 24/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Minor Fracas/Minor Victory
    On the way home from Birmingham on Saturday night (which I'll get on to later) i was involved in a minor FRACAS on the train... and had that rarest of things, a minor VICTORY!

    So, Steve and I were sat on the (horrible, badly designed, overpriced etc etc) Virgin Train heading back to London just after 9pm, with two girls sat in the seats in front of us. They spent the first hour SQUEALING and repeatedly playing lumps of music VERY LOUDLY INDEED on their phones. It was bloody annoying - a BIT of that sort of thing is fine, High Spirits and Youthful Exuberance etc, but it just went ON and ON and ON. If people like music THAT much, to KEEP playing it, you'd think they'd do so on something that WORKED, but it was the horrible TINNY sound of AUTO-TUNE... FOREVER!

    After an HOUR of this i decided, possibly helped by the couple of small BEERS i'd had earlier on, to stop thinking GRUMPY THORTS and actually SAY something. So i did. LOOMING round the seat I said. "Excuse me, could you stop playing that shit please?"

    You have obviously spotted my mistake. Within NANOSECONDS the horrified scream "DON'T SWEAR!" went up. EXACTLY the same as the LAST time i was involved in a reprimand for the anti-social, apparently you can be as AWFUL and INCONSIDERATE as you like, pissing off as many people as you like SO LONG AS YOU DON'T SWEAR.

    Yes, middle-class newspapers, i AM available for a regular sideways looks at modern life, why do you ask?

    I APOLOGISED for the language... or at least tried to, as I was subjected to a JET ENGINE of TELLING OFF. By HECK, if you had seen our conversation in a television sitcom you would have thought it base, easy satire on a younger generation condemned by their elders, but it was REALLY like that - a Vicky Pollard SCREAM STREAM of abuse about how, apparently, i shouldn't swear, it wasn't for an hour as I'd said, they hadn't been playing music, why couldn't i just asks, how dare i swear... etc etc. After a full 120 seconds of this I said "Well, just stop doing it and that'll be lovely" and sat back down.

    I was, of course, QUAKING with the atypical stress caused by Actually Saying Something, whilst my opponents set to LOUDLY COMPLAINING about my incursion. Is this not, gentle reader, always the way? Getting A Bit Annoyed by other people acting unsocially is something you just get USED to and can forget about after a bit of a moan. The PANIC, FEAR and RAGE you get if you DO something, that sticks around FOREVER, and it rarely has a profitable outcome.

    Ten minutes later my heart was still RACING, when the ticket inspector came along. And guess what? The two girls did NOT have tickets. Well, they DID, apparently, they just didn't have them with them. And why was the ticket inspector doubting them? Was he calling them liars? Why wouldn't they have tickets... and so on as the poor chap stood there flabbergasted. Eventually he managed to tell them that they had to have tickets ACTUALLY WITH THEM and would therefore need to buy NEW ones, so they demanded he sell them CHILD tickets. Oh, but they didn't have any money on them to do so.

    It was getting on for eleven o'clock at night at this point, so he said, in an Actual Kindly, Not Arsey, way "Well, if you ARE minors, I'm not really comfortable about letting the two of you just get off the train in London near midnight with no money, I'd better call the London Transport Police."

    OH THE NOISE! The distress! THE RAGE! "I'll be back in a few minutes", he said, as a noise like a Fox in World Of Chickens gathered. Ten minutes later he DID come back... and the pair of them STORMED OFF THE TRAIN, disembarking at glamorous WATFORD JUNCTION, as the ticket inspector stood AGOG, saying "You're ... getting off at Watford?!?"

    Please do not think too ill of me - they clearly WEREN'T underage, DID have money, and there WAS another train coming along afterwards, which they probably got on and still didn't buy a ticket for, so they'd be FINE - but I must admit to taking a small scintilla of JOY from the outcome of the evening. Goodness knows it didn't encourage me to become a vigilante of Small Justice or anything, but it was nice to see KARMA in action for once, even if it came in the unlikely shape of a Virgin Trains ticket inspector.

    posted 24/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    All About The Artwork
    An exciting day for lovers of Dinosaur Planet Artwork (which would be ME) yesterday. On the way into work I popped into a local copy shop to order a MOUND of posters for our show at the Leicester Comedy Festival - as usual we've got a group of students do the Theatre Admin for the show as part of their course, and they'd asked for some posters and flyers to use. In a fit of excitement I got 50 ORANGE A3 posters, 50 GREEN A4 posters and 100 FLYERS done too. I picked them up on the way home and they look GRATE - I'd been a little worried about doing black and white ones, rather than FULL COLOUR as is usual for Edinburgh, but these look FAB. I kept one for myself - goodness knows i have ENOUGH unused posters stuck behind shelves/in drawers, but it just looked so NICE!

    When i got home I found an EMAIL about the NEXT stage of Dinosaur Planet. As you may know (due to me BANGING ON ABOUT IT) we're now in the (hopefully) final stages of production of the ALBUM, and so mine thoughts have been drifting to the artwork we'll need. We've previously done the design OURSELVES, usually either me or, more recently, Mr T Pattison being responsible, but this time I really wanted to get a PAINTED cover, or something much like it, in line with the general Concept Album VIBE which it is all giving off... probably due to the fact that it IS a Concept Album.

    I thought about it long and hard and eventually approached one of my FAVOURITE artists EVER - in fact, if you went by how many items of CLOTHING i own featuring his drawings, he would be THE favourite! I was a bit worried about it - what if he said NO outright, or demanded a KRAZY price? Would i be able to enjoy his STUFF in the same way again? Or would it all suddenly be AWFUL?

    Happily i need not have worried, for LO! he said YES! HOORAH! I'll not get into the details of who it is or what's happening just yet, suffice to say for now i am VERY HAPPY INDEED about it and can't wait to a) see what he comes up with b) show it off. I didn't think this album could GET any more POTENTIALLY EXCITING, but my goodness me, it HAS!

    posted 21/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    In Other Media
    Today I would like to present a couple of items ELSEWHERE which feature ME in them. I like things that feature ME in them!

    The first of these is the latest Kooba Radio podcast which not only features a SNEAK PEEK of (a quite rough, early mix of) Theme From Dinosaur Planet but a big chunk of INTERVIEW with me and Steve. Well, I say with me and Steve, but as you can probably tell from listening Steve didn't get much of a word in edgeways, as I was Quite Excitable. This was BEFORE the gig and BEFORE I'd had more than a PINT of beer, so goodness knows how DELIGHTFUL i must have been by the end of the evening!

    Secondly, and on a rather different tack, here's a proper thoughtful article about my song The Fight For History. I was really a) pleased that it meant something to someone b) impressed by the levels of Getting It that goes on - i was ESPECIALLY impressed by the fact that the article mentions Boris Johnson and Anne Widdicombe, BOTH of whom have been creeping into live versions of the song lately as people whose PAST is gently ignored by most of us (including me at times, I have to admit) as they take on the GUISE of Charming Buffoon/Crazy Old Lady respectively. It's a dead good article, with a lot of LINKS to more interesting stuff!

    Oh, and finally, as a BONUS FEATURE, here's a video of me GABBLING AWAY at the Midwinter Picnic at the weekend. Good LORD, do i EVER shut up?

    posted 20/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Midwinter Picnic
    I headed off to BRIGHTON on Sunday afternoon, away to play at Chris T-T's Midwinter picnic all-dayer. I was originally intending to do it as a Day Return... until I discovered that It Being Sunday meant the dreaded Rail Replacement BUSES were in action (actually they were fine - i spent the second half of the journey on the top front seat of a double decker, it was GRATE!) so booked myself into a B&B.

    Thus I stomped across Brighton, through some Delightful Regency Squares to find about five POLICE CARS parked up. "Yikes!" i thought, "I hope that's not where my hotel is!" And, of course, it TOTALLY WAS - the next morning I saw on the news that there had been a MURDER about three doors down from where i was staying! EEK!

    Happily (SPOILERS) I didn't get murdered myself, iNDEED the B&B was Quite Nice - it was one of these here BOUTIQUE places like you see on Property Shows and so forth, and had all been done out very nicely. A bit TOO nicely in places, as the room was quite small and on SEVERAL occasions I banged my head and other extremities on some of the Funky Little Personal Touches. Mind you, the breakfast next morning (PORRIDGE! and FRUIT! and COFFEE! delivered to my door!!) was BRILLIANT!

    Anyway, I checked in, had a cup of tea and headed up to West Hill Hall (up a MASSIVE HILL) where the gig was well underway. I said hello to Chris and Rifa, who both seemed pretty COMPOSED for people running an all dayer, and went in to catch the end of Clara Barker's set, doing a cover version of "You Can Call Me Al". I was midly FREAKED by this as it had come up on my WalkPod on shuffle on the way there, and I'd been thinking about how the album Graceland seems to have been GRABBED by a whole generation of The Young People, in the same sort of way that "War Of The Worlds" or The Beatles' Red and Blue albums were by mine, as the records ALL our parents had and played.

    I MUSED SIMILARLY for the next couple of acts - when Serafina Steer played an amazing set on the MASSIVE HARP I sat thinking "How does this WORK? How do you go about writing a song on a HARP?" I mean, on a guitar it's pretty easy, you go strum strum strum and a song APPEARS, but the harp songs had all sorts of BITS and PARTS and looked COMPLICATED. How do you even begin to embark on such a thing?

    During Napoleon IIIrd (who were also dead good) I thought about HATS. They were all wearing HATS and seemed perfectly content to be doing so. Previously i've seen younger people in hats and thought it AFFECTED, but this time gently realised that LOADS of them see to do so now, and began to wonder if maybe my and my parents generations of gentlemen were just an historic BLIP of hatlessness. After all, my Grandads both wore hats quite happily, and in olden times EVERYONE did. Maybe WE are the trifling exception to a fashion trend that will continue quite happily long after we are lowered bare headed into the ground?

    This is what happens when you leave me to sit in a Village Hall for a couple of hours.

    Soon it was time to STOP my various trains of thought and hit the STAGE, where I did THIS:

  • The Peterborough All-Saints Wide Game Team (group B)
  • The Gay Train
  • My Boss Was In An Indie Band Once
  • It Only Works Because You're here
  • Theme From Dinosaur Planet
  • Do The Indie Kid
  • The Lesson Of The Smiths
  • Boom Shake The Room

  • It was a HECKLOAD of fun - I'd written out a setlist before i started but it SWERVED all over the place, especially when everybody joined in with Theme From Dinosaur Planet A LOT and i thought "HO! Let's do MORE of the joining in!" I was thus a bit taken aback when EVERYBODY did The Music Of The Future in Do The Indie Kid HUGELY... and without any real kind of guidance from me. It was strange, also EXCITING.

    Mostly though it was HUGE amounts of fun - I'd been a bit worried beforehand as MOST times I've played in Brighton everyone has been A Bit Stern About It All, but everyone seemed WELL up for it, and afterwards I had that lovely lovely thing where people come up to you for the rest of the evening to say how much they enjoyed it. HOORAH!

    posted 18/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    War Is Hell
    What an exciting weekend this weekend was for me, commencing on Friday with a night out in THE WEST END. I met The Drinks Behind My Bar in The John Snow, scene of many happy nights in the past, where we were reminded that Friday Night In Soho is not the EASIEST of areas to get served in, nor the most lacking in PILLOCKS.

    After a discussion of Bar Etiquette (if someone has been outside for an hour having a cigarette, are their friends CORRECT to tell you you have to move so they can pull seats out and sit down? We decided NO, unless they asked Really Nicely, which they didn't) we moved round the corner to have a look at The Old Coffee House. This is where we're doing the WEST END FINALE of Dinosaur Planet and I was relieved to find it was LOVELY. As soon as we got in we bumped into somebody, who turned, apologised, and then joined us in a slightly tipsy discussion about... er... something DELIGHTFUL that i have forgotten. Suddenly we were forty feet and a WORLD away from where we'd come from, as everyone in the pub seemed to be HAPPY, also NOT ANNOYING. It was full but not horribly so, people were A BIT TIDDLY and ready for a chat but VITALLY not insistent on one. It was ACE, and the beer was dead nice too.

    I also noticed that they had the same bar staff on as had been there just before Christmas when I'd been in to book the room. This sort of Staff Continuity is almost UNHEARD OF in Central London pubs, maybe that had something to do with it being NICE? It had also had VERY BAD REVIEWS on a couple of online PUB review sites - very similar, in fact, to The Jazz Pub in Mile ENd, which was ALSO pretty ACE. Maybe "rude bar staff" is Online Pub Review Site CODE for "really nice pub"?

    Anyway, it was DEAD GOOD and filled me with CHEER ready for the show next month. We finished off by having our tea in TIBITS nearby, which is a VEGGIE Restaurant although you wouldn't know it unless you checked REALLY CAREFULLY, as it seems to want to keep the fact quiet. Sorry, Tibits, if so. It's LIKE a buffet restaurant, except you pay according to how much your food WEIGHS. It's GRATE, and was ALSO pleasantly full of people having a NICE TIME. I liked it!

    Cor, this is like a Saturday Supplement or something isn't it? Pubs, Restaurants, surely now we need some GRITTY REPORTING to balance it all out? Here goes then, for LO! On Saturday i took part in WAR!

    WAR! Or at least as close as it gets when you find yourself in COMBAT OVERALLS in a field in Essex, running around with a LAZER GUN constantly being GAME OVER-ED by a bunch of ten year olds. It was my nephew's 10th Birthday party (delayed from just before Christmas when it SNOWED LIKE HECK) and it was BRILLIANT. Who could have guessed that running around playing WAR for a couple of hours could be so much fun? Apart from, well, EVERYBODY?

    There were a couple of other adults involved, and all of us started off being quite jokey about it, making REMARKS and being a bit larky. By the end of it, however, we were FULL-ON - at one point I found myself creeping up on the ENEMY BASE, taking cover behind an oil drum, on the verge of panic. "I'M PINNED DOWN!" i thought, with NO trace of irony whatsoever. My brother-in-law had to be PULLED AWAY from the ACTION later on, having installed himself in a SNIPING POSITION.

    It was a whole lot of fun, and we had CAKE at the end too, also PIZZA! I reckon the United Nations could learn a thing from LAZER MAYHEM, CHIGWELL!

    posted 17/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Packing Up Tripod
    Last year I moved the whole website over to EHostPros - it was instigated by changes at Blogger which meant I needed a PROVIDER where I could do my own blogging system, but I'd been thinking about leaving Tripod, my old provider, for AGES.

    I've had my tripod account ever since I started my very first version of these webpages, sometime (i think) in 1997, right at the VERY START OF THE INTERWEB. COR, that's nearly 14 years, it seems like only yesterday that we all plugged our TERMINALS into the OVER-BRANE! How well I remember my first EMAILED going to the pub arrangements - I was meeting Tim in the Pump & Tap. He drove round my house to check I'd got the message!

    ANYWAY over the years Tripod had served me well, but there'd been a couple of INCIDENTS. For instance, I pay them via a regular charge on my debit card, and when my card RAN OUT, rather than ask me to change it they pulled the plug on the ENTIRE SITE. This happened TWICE! Also their customer service is APPALLING, it's a bit expensive for what it is, and it doesn't allow you to DO much, HENCE my decision to move was made nice and easy for me.

    HOWEVER, i still haven't got round to cancelling the site - this is partly due to being busy doing other stuff, but also due to RELUCTANCE. I've had it for YEARS, e'en since the web address had a TILDE in it, and didn't want to entirely sever my links with it, so I eventually decided just to DOWNGRADE it to a FREE version. This is what happened before when they had the wrong card details for me, and they ended up deleting most of the files until it'd fit into a free account, so I'm now gradually backing it all up and removing stuff.

    Today I asked them to switch ownership of, which is registered with them, to Easyspace, who do all my other domains. When THAT'S done there's just a bit of deleting left to do and it'll all be gone. All that will be left will be this error page, which I have to admit I'm quite fond of. It's been a delightful 14 years, on the whole, with Tripod - I wonder what the Interweb will be like 14 years from NOW, in 2025?

    posted 14/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Ideas Afoot
    This lunchtime i set off in search of an IDEA - when i met with Messrs Kell and Hewitt last week it was suggested that I come up with a DIFFERENT idea for part of the first scene of Moon Horse. The BIT in question involved Geoffrey Livingstone and Moon Horse fighting a fiendish plan by The Mars Men Of Jupiter to unleash a herd of hideously angry carnivorous Giraffe from another dimension onto the planet Earth and ... what? Anyway, it was thought that this could do with being different because a) it was a bit complicated, plot wise, for a 30 second BIT b) we'd need to get a GIRAFFE MASK for it c) we could use something BETTER in that section to advance the PLOT.

    But what, eh? WHAT? It'd needed to be a BIT that would set the TONE for the show (serious, grimly realistic, inherently political hem hem), introduce some characters, and yet stay within the THEME (or "running joke") of the song it's part of... eh? Why yes, the carnivorous giraffe WERE part of a song, along with SATAN HIMSELF in the second verse, is that a problem?

    The BEST place for IDEAS, i find, is the far end of the Westbound platform of Leytonstone Station, but as that's a bit of a way off i settled for the SECOND best, which has the added advantage of being a bit more generic - a STIFF WALK. Thus I strode off around London's Covent Garden Area Of London for a refreshing 40 minute STOMP during which I thought of an idea that would not only WORK, but would be HUMOROUS. Anyone around Lincoln's Inn Field today who saw a man chuckling to himself, occasionally singing "Mooon Poo..." - that was ME, having the idea.

    While I was out I also managed to do a bit of my NEW WALKING SCHEME. Regular readers may remember The Walking Circle that I completed last year, wherein I walked every street within about a 20 minute walking radius of my work. Rather than repeat it all I've decided THIS year to go for a slightly LOOSER, slightly more OUTWARD BOUND plan, and am going to attempt to visit the site of every BORIS BIKE BAY in the whole of That London. So far it's been lovely and easy as there's LOADS near me and I can just WANDER OFF, not worrying about going up and down MEWS like I had to last time, but I've got a feeling it's going to get more difficult when the remaining BAYS are further away.

    Still, if it gives me a chance to come up with some more SOLID GOLD IDEAS like the one I had today it will all be worth it. Moon Poo! HA!

    posted 13/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Dinosaur Planet West End Run And Tour
    I'm happy to announce that tickets are now on sale for the West End Run of Dinosaur Planet. Our run commences at The Old Coffee House on Tuesday February 8th and then finishes... er... about an hour later. It's not The Mousetrap, I know, but it still COUNTS.

    The venue is a TINY little room above a pub, so we've only got 20 tickets on sale. THUS I would advise people to BOOK QUICK as I am full of hope that this might actually SELL OUT (not least because I want to put a West End Sell Out Show on the CV!). I'd ESPECIALLY advise this if you've not yet seen the show, as there's only a few of them LEFT before we pack it in and go on to MOON HORSE (I've just bought the domain name, HOORAH!) instead. In fact, let''s look in AWE at the TOUR, shall we?

    Saturday 22 January The Victoria, 48 John Bright Street , Birmingham
    Tuesday 8 February The Old Coffee House, 49 Beak Street, London
    Wednesday 16 February The Criterion, 44 Millstone Lane, Leicester
    Thursday 17 February The Criterion, 44 Millstone Lane, Leicester
    Saturday 19 February Cha Cha Cha, 3 Cassiobury Park, Watford
    Monday 21 February Lee Rosy's Tea Room, 17 Broad Street, Nottingham

    That looks RIGHT PROPER doesn't it? I mean, yes, I know i could just have said see the webpage for the details but to HECK with it, i think that's pretty flipping cool! It's a TOUR!

    posted 11/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Football
    Saturday morning found me heading WEST, for distant FULHAM where I was going to watch Peterborough United play Fulham in the FA Cup. I was Quite Excited about the whole thing - i actually rather ENJOY going to Posh Away games, usually DESPITE the standard of football what is played, but when I've seen them in Cup Matches they've often being Surprisingly Good. We might even WIN!

    As I left the house The Players In My Team called out "It's cold - don't forget your scarf" which, of course, i DID. When I emerged at Putney Bridge station i was thus DELIGHTED to find there was a man selling SCARVES! In fact, there were loads of them - how sensible! I am thus, after several decades, the proud owner of a (non-official) Peterborough United scarf... which probably won't last if i ever put it in the washing machine.

    I met with my dear brother Thomas and we headed to THE PUB. In fact we headed round SEVERAL pubs, mostly not getting in but managing on a couple of times, occasionally even getting SERVED. We also bumped into several old PALS, which was delightful, and MARVELLED about what an excitably good mood everyone was in. I have to say that USUALLY when I got to my roughly annual Posh Match the mood is fairly DOUR, but everyone was excited about a trip to The Big City and DETERMINED to enjoy themselves. Which was lucky, as things turned out...

    We got to Craven Cottage to discover our tickets didn't work - I'd PANICKED the day before and my tickets hadn't arrived yet (they HAD when I got home) so the LOVELY Peterborough United Ticket people had put some NEW ones at the collection point for us, next door. PHEW. We thus strolled in, got a PIE each for lunch, and found ourselves sat RIGHT down the front, just as it all kicked off.

    Now, I am not a habitual attendee of The Football, nor much of a SPORT REPORTER (if you'd like a PROPER REPORT, look HERE, so I shall keep it short: basically, Posh did not DISGRACE themselves nor did they ever GIVE UP, but it was fairly clear WHICH team was in the Premiership and which WASN'T. It was 2-0 to Fulham by half time, at which point we went and ANNOYED a queue of people by ACCIDENTALLY (honest!) just walking to the front of the BEER STAND and getting some BEER. I apologised profusely! Also we saw a MAN walk by who everyone wanted their picture taken with. I've no idea who he was, but people seemed VERY excited.

    The second half was a FIESTA of GOALS, TWO of which actually came our way. If you look closely at the picture at the top of the report above you can see HOW EXCITED we were about this. Here is a closer look:


    See our happy faces! It was actually the best atmosphere at any Posh game for YEARS and for once it was US who did most of the singing. There was a long row of STEWARDS sat all along the front of us and every time Fulham scored they all suddenly STOOD UP to check for OUTRAGE and VIOLENCE from the away supporters. This was a little unnecessary, INDEED by the SIXTH goal many of our lot were dancing and cheering JUST FOR THE HECK OF IT.

    Honestly, there is a lot of nonsense spoken about The Football Terrace Community - in my experience it's usually GRUMPY and QUIET, but this time was an archetypal Big Day Out. It would have been nice to WIN, but it wasn't expected and it's not like it really mattered, so we ended up having a GRATE day out. Thomas and I retired to a POSH pub for a further pint, and then i headed back into town for CURRY to celebrate Dr Neil Brown's birthday. It was a LOVELY day out all round really - I might even go AGAIN before the end of the season!

    posted 10/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Loud Life In Lewisham
    In years to come people will talk of last night as The Night That The Pub Quiz Paradigm Was Formulated - surely an evening UP THERE with Woolton Village Hall in its importance to ROCK HISTORY - but all I knew when i arrived in Distant Lewisham was that i was a) looking forward to another good night at The Fox & Firkin abd b) a bit tired, as I'd had to WALK to Charring Cross due to Overcrowding On The Tube.

    Mr S Hewitt and Mr J Yeah were both in place and we were rapidly joined by a dizzying variety of other lovely people, from ALL SORTS of different aspects of life. It was bloody lovely - i kept bumping into people I had no idea would be there! HOORAH! There was even a group of The Young People who'd been to see us LAST time we played there and had come again ON PURPOSE! You can't ask for more than that really, can you?

    The fun continued first of all with a RECORDING SESSION, finally getting Mr T Eveleigh's missing line recorded for Dinosaur Planet. It was a BIG TICK! We then did a delightful INTERVIEW for Kooba Radio, during which CERTAIN MEMBERS of the group may have gone on JUST A BIT MORE THAN NECESSARY, often featuing a slightly dubious WELSH ACCENT for no reasonable reason, to such an extent that OTHER MEMBERS were forced to GRAB the diary and READ OUT upcoming gigs in a sensible manner, just to get SOME commone decency into the discussion. What can I say? I'd had a pizza, i was a bit excited!

    Brilliantly Ms J Lockyer had been booked as our support, and she was as ever ACE. I've not seen her in this sort of ROOM before - the Fox is a big old pub and entry is always FREE to gigs, so you get all kinds of people wandering in mostly for a BEER, and it was GRATE seeing her MASTER the room and have everybody joining in with stuff like "Belly Button" or, indeed, BLUSHING GENTEELY at "Chocolate Cake" which, i suddenly realised, was PURE FILTH. Shocking!

    It was all lovely, EXCEPT for a table of people sitting right at the front who INSISTED on TALKING REALLY LOUDLY THROUGHOUT. Jenny was very nice about it and TRIED to kindly stop them, and Mr T Eveleigh and others went over to gently ask them to stop but they didn't and, INDEED, arsed about going "Ooh look at us we're so naughty for talking". A LOT.. We'll not get into they whys and wherefores of this - obviously there is no NEED to now, what with the issue being SOLVED and everything - but i will say that it was all a BIT ANNOYING and i thought to myself "I may have to DEAL with this."

    I had a quick word with the sound man beforehand and he agreed to a) turn us UP a bit to compete b) turn OFF the smoke machine but c) turn it BACK ON AGAIN during "For The Fate Of The Earth". This latter he did do, and it was AMAZING!

    Anyway, we started the gig with a bit more RAMBLING at the start (featuring an impersonation of D Cameron as CORNISH, for some reason) and it was HO! for the show. My dears it was HEAPS of fun - like in Manchester before Christmas we were on much later than we were used to and so had had a couple of beers and were LOOSE, which made it all the more fun for us and, i hope, the people watching. There was LARKING ABOUT, there was CHEERS and LARFS and all sorts, it was EXCELLENT!

    The talking - SHOUTING - continued and, once again, Mr Hewitt proved his qualifications for ROCK by not being SWAYED by it (really, he is excelling in the Gig Behaviour MODULE, he should expect high marks in his Final Assessment which should go some way to making up for his poor performance in the Bitching About Other Bands After The Gig MODULE in which, frankly, he needs to up his game) but it was SO LOUD that after a while I had to stop and POLITELY, CALMLY, address them directly. I was really honestly trying to be NICE, i HATE it when people on stage stop to ask people to be quiet, and don't want to ALIENATE people, so explained jovially that maybe they would like to move elsewhere, as it would be easier to hear each other. Half of the group was sat - RIGHT AT THE FRONT - with their backs to us anyway (FOR GOODNESS SAKE), so it wasn't like they'd miss anything.

    It continued louder and louder though, to the point where a song with both of us singing THROUGH A PA SYSTEM was BLOTTED OUT ENTIRELY by one of them SHOUTING at another one. I must confess that at this point I became enraged, and shouted directly at them to shut up. They were SO LOUD and so wrapped up in themselves that THEY DIDN'T EVEN HEAR ME so we BOTH shouted - and apologies for the language - "YOU! SHUT THE FCUK UP!"

    I should re-state that this was AFTER I'd asked mega politely AND several people including BAR STAFF had been over to ask the same (at various levels of politeness), but still, i didn't like it. I felt bad... right up until one of the party turned round, for the first time, and shouted "Don't Swear!"

    "I'll stop fcuking swearing when start shutting the fcuk up" i replied. And yes, IT FELT GOOD.

    You'd think, at this point, most people would leave IN DISGUST wouldn't you? But no. They bought more drinks and carried on BUT by now we had all VENTED and were into the LOUD BITS (with, as aforementioned, SMOKE MACHINE) and the rest of the audience all seemed a) to agree with us b) eager to hear the story so, as I say, it went pretty quickly back to GOOD TIMES. I really really hate having to do that sort of thing though, I still feel awful about it, to be honest - there were some friends there who hadn't seen me that often, and I'd hate them to think I'm the sort of person to DO that sort of thing, who think himself SO IMPORTANT to demand SILENT RESPECT. Afterwards people were all MOST supportive and agreeing with the actions, but still - it's unpleasant for something like that to become The Big News.

    But yes, it WAS fun and everyone seemed to have had a good time - the badges certainly went, even to the regulars at the back of the room, one of whom seemed OVERJOYED to find that yes, I HAD heard "War Of The Worlds" and indeed was paying partial HOMAGE to it. We basically SWANNED ABOUT a bit talking to people about how good it had been and everything - someone asked me the other day why i play so many gigs in Lewisham, and the answers are a) they keep asking me but mostly b) it's ALWAYS a good gig, ALWAYS with a lovely audience. And despite - maybe partly BECAUSE of - Occurences, this was very VERY much the case last night. HOORAH!

    posted 7/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Talking At Gigs: The Pub Quiz Paradigm
    Last night I played a gig (which I'll bang on about in a minute) where people were sat right at the front, talking INCREDIBLY loudly, refusing to stop when asked politely by five different sets of people (including barstaff) and me twice. People Talking At Gigs like this is not a new phenomenon - INDEED it has happened, and been discussed, ever since there have BEEN gigs. When the first cavemen banged rocks together rythmically for the first time i bet there was somebody nearby going on and on about the time they single handedly killed a mammoth, insisting when confronted that they had come to the clearing to socialise with their friends, and why shouldn't they grunt as loudly as they liked?

    And it has always been a KNOTTY ISSUE. Some people seem to want gigs to occur in UTTER SILENCE, with the audience RAPT, looking up adoringly at the performers, hanging on their every word. Others would suggest that music occurs in a social setting and should be PART of that setting, enjoyed by everyone in their own way. From the point of view of someone on stage it would be NICE if everyone DID listen to you, but also you know you have to WORK for their attention, and actually the interaction can improve things. Meanwhile, if you're in the audience, you want the freedom to talk to YOUR friends if you'd like to, especially if the performance is a bit dull, but also want to be able to HEAR the music that you've come on purpose to listen to, without someone else ruining it for you.

    What to do? How to GAUGE one's reaction? FEAR NOT EVERYBODY, for LO! I have completely solved the issue with one simple THORT, and it goes like THIS:

    The Pub Quiz Paradigm

    Would this behaviour be acceptable at a Pub Quiz?

    And that's pretty much it. Whenever happens the Talking At Gigs issues arises ask yourself "Would this behaviour be acceptable at a Pub Quiz?" and you will have found the correct response. Here's some examples (NOTE: In this metaphor "Quiz" is a gig, "Quiz Master" refers to "Performer", "Questions" are "Songs" and "Pub" is ... well, a pub, or venue, or wherever you are).

    Case Study One: Group Of People Loudly Talking Right At The Front, Only Engaging With The Performance By Applauding And Whooping Loudly At The End Of Every Song
    Would this behaviour be acceptable at a Pub Quiz?
    Clearly not. Everyone else has gathered to take part in the quiz, and these people are stopping them from hearing the questions. They clearly know this from their other actions and are taking delight in spoiling it for others. There are other rooms in the pub they can sit in for their social occasion, and indeed other pubs, and so should be asked politely if they could go and sit there instead please.

    Case Study Two: Two Friends Having A Quiet Chat At The Bar, Blotting Out The Performer
    Would this behaviour be acceptable at a Pub Quiz?
    Pretty much, yes - if they become too boisterous then we move into similar territory to Case Study One but, really, it IS a pub where people have come to socialise and in this day and age we DO have PA systems which should make you loud enough to be heard over them. If they are too distracting for everyone then the fault may be with the Quiz Master having uninteresting questions or poor microphone technique.

    Case Study Three: Making 'Amusing' Remarks After Every Song
    Would this behaviour be acceptable at a Pub Quiz?
    Yes - indeed it is all part of the fun of a live performance - after all, if you want to answer quiz questions alone with no interaction there's always the Deal Or No Deal machine in the corner (NB or "IPod", metaphorically speaking). If someone does this after EVERY question then one would expect their friends to tell them to pack it in, or at least distract them with CRISPS. If you're the sort of person who LOVES the attention gained by doing this, maybe you should think about spending some time practicing and then starting your OWN Pub Quiz?

    Case Study Four: Joining In With Everything
    Would this behaviour be acceptable at a Pub Quiz?
    YES! Again, if you want to do a quiz in ABSOLUTE SILENCE, get a Quiz Book. If someone is joining in with EVERY answer, loudly, so you can't hear it then yes, that's annoying, but they ARE enjoying the same thing you're there for, they're just KEEN. Try moving to a different table.

    Case Study Five: The Whole Event Is Incredibly Boring And Goes On Forever And, When You Mention This Quietly To A Friend, Everyone GLARES At You
    Would this behaviour be acceptable at a Pub Quiz?
    No, but alas it does happen - you might have been hoping for a fun, jolly night out, but everyone else is obviously being FAR TOO SERIOUS about it all. They probably have rubbish Team Names like "Dave And Ken And Margaret" and FROWN upon the mild LEWDNESS in the name you have chosen. There may be things going on you don't know about - perhaps it is a long running event, maybe something is at stake, or maybe the Quiz Master has earnt everyone's respect in another way. Whatever it is, it is clear that there is no GOOD TIMES to be had for you, so rather than complain about it or Get Arsey (and risk turning into one of Those Kind Of People who've annoyed YOU at other quizes) I always find it is best to cut your losses and clear off. After all, there will be other, better, quizes in the near future and better places to have a pint in.

    So there you go, The Pub Quiz Paradigm. I think that answers ALL questions to do with the issue, which, if adopted worldwide, will stop anybody else in the future having to bellow "WILL YOU JUST SHUT THE FCUK UP!" at an audience member and then feel TERRIBLE about it all the next day...

    posted 7/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Season Finale
    The final episode of this series of Totally Acoustic is online NOW, and by golly it's a bit of a corker!

    Every time we did a show i SAVED a song from each ARTISTE to use in the final episode, which has thus turned into something of an all-star compilation of EXCLUSIVE TRACKS from (deep breath) Gavin Osborne, Dr Neil Brown, Winston Echo, Pete Green, Frankie Machine, Jimmy McGee, Jenny Lockyer, Fakebit Polytechnic, Helen Arney, Tim Eveleigh, Andy Pocketbooks, Chris T-T and ME. It sounds BRILLIANT!

    One of the nicest things, among MANY nice things, about doing this series of shows is the way that different people have been introduced to a) each other b) each other's audiences. Maybe not to a Glastonbury Festival/Jools Holland kind of SCALE, but at every show I saw SOMEONE full of glee at hearing one of our acts for the first time, and I'm hoping that sticking everyone together like this will lead to a bit more of that. If anyone out there can publicise it in anyway (e.g. TWIT it or something - the shortened linke is I'd be EXCEEDINGLY grateful as I think there's some ACE people on this who not only DESERVE a larger audience but would SERVE that audience well by DELIGHTING them.

    I'm not sure the DELIGHT will be particularly increased by my DJ SKILLZ, however, which occure throughout, but I must say I rather enjoyed doing it! In fact I've enjoyed the whole thing - i was a bit worried about whether it would all WORK or not before we started but it all seems to have gone pretty darn well, and I'm already looking forward to the next series. Have a look at the line-up, looks COOL doesn't it?

    There's a while to go before then tho, and in the meantime I hope you can find time to have a listen to this special finale, I'm really rather proud of it!

    posted 6/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    The Last Day Of The Sales
    Here's a quick reminder for you - as today is The Twelfth Day Of Christmas I'll not only be changing the webpage design back to the previous version but ALSO closing down our Crazy Christmas Clearout. If you'd like to get your hands on huge chunks of our back catalogue at LUDICROUSLY CHEAP prices, you've only got a few more hours to do so! GO!

    posted 6/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Standard Fare
    Last night I headed out to scenic Islington after work, which seems to be the MAIN area I'm going to gigs at the moment. I decided to WALK to The Old Red Lion, where I was meeting Mr J Kell and Mr S Hewitt, as part of the traditional Back To Work Fitness Freakout, but hadn't realised QUITE how out of practice I was with that sort of thing, and it took me a good few minutes to get my breath back and a while long to RECOVER sufficiently to get to the business at hand.

    The business was, however, dealt with SUAVELY - planning for next year's show, ideas for the Dinosaur Planet SCREENPLAY, and THORTS on the future were all dealt with succesfully before we headed round the corner to Indian Veg, there to eat A BIT TOO MUCH. YOINKS! It was DELICIOUS, but many of our number spent the rest of the evening feeling a bit like WEEBLES.

    Thus we WOBBLED round the corner to The Lexington and were soon upstairs looking at Evans The Death. Lots of people have been banging on about these lately, and once we'd got over our Old Person Apprehensions (SKINNY JEANS!) they were dead good. There was something BAND-ISH about them, everyone LOOKED like they should be in a band but not like they'd all dressed up in Band Clothes or indeed to be in THIS band, but everything sounds GRATE (the sound at the Lexington is AMAZING) and all the songs had EXCITING BITS in them. I have a feeling if I saw them again I'd suddenly KNOW half the songs and, actually, seeing them again would be something i would LIKE.

    After a bit of the old chat we regrouped for the next act, and the reason that I'd GONE, the amazing and brilliant Standard Fare. I've seen them several times now and they've never been less than excellent, but CRIKEY! This time they were INCREDIBLE! Especially when they got into their stride a few songs in, they ROCKED like NOBODY'S BUSINESS. The best thing is to WATCH them, as they (especially The Guitarist) always seem ASTONISHED that they have such AMAZING songs. The dynamic (hem hem) of the group is ACE too - he really is BRILLIANt at playing the guitar, but in a way that makes for RIFFS and TUNES rather than showing off, while the VOCALS are UNIQUE (NB by which I mean BRILLIANT and different from anyone else) and full of feeling and even MORE tunes. As for the DRUMS... even THOSE have tunes in, and BY HECK he is good at playing them.

    So yes, and actually BRILLIANT (i know i am using this word a lot, but it APPLIES) band playing BRILLIANT songs (and CRUMBS they have a lot of them), what more could one want? I did rather wonder this while I was watching them, as much of the audience stood looking quite CALM throughout, and when they did "Philadelphia" NOBODY started leaping around like a KRAZY PERSON. Eh? What's going on? They'd start songs - and another ACE thing about them is all their songs are instantly recognisable from the introductions, THAT'S how BRILLIANT they are! - and there was a distinct lack of "WHOO!" and "HECK YES!" in the room. It felt WEIRD and WRONG - surely, SURELY this lot are destined for massive crowds of screaming insanity? In fact, SURELY that should already be happening?

    Best of ALL though was a new song, "Suitcase", which was SO BRILLIANT I actually found myself LARFING with GLEE at how ludicrous it felt to be seeing and hearing it. I reckon they KNOW how GRATE it is, they certainly looked like they were happy to be playing it, and again I was confused by the fact that there were people in the room NOT rending their hair at the insanity of it all, nor making feverish notes to ensure they remembered where they were the first time they heard it.

    So yes, all in all, I thought it was rather good. I couldn't stick around for the end of the evening, but left with a HUGE GRIN plastered all over my silly face. It was a frankly ATSONISHING first gig of the year, but let's hope ALL gigs aren't this good, I don't think my face muscles could take it!

    posted 5/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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    Back In The Jug Agane
    Like many people I am today filled with a joy almost too much to bear, as I find myself back at work. Big whoops. Hoopla. Zang.

    Yes yes, I know that in The Current Economic Climate I should curb The Sarcasm and be grateful for HAVING a job, but still - I do wish REALITY would hurry up and catch up with MY MIND so that I don't HAVE to come to work all the time and can instead frolic around my home studio joyfully emitting rock operas to a Universe that sees fit to give me huge piles of CA$H just to do so. Is this too much to ask? I am currently blaming the failure for this to happen on THE VAT HIKE but reserve the right to start blaming Boris Johnson, The Younger Generation, Cyclists Who Go Through Red Lights or anybody else without further notice.

    STILL, the lack of CA$H for doing so will, as it never has, be holding neither myself nor my colleagues as we set off on this year's hearty feast of ADVENTURE. I've just been working out my THINGS TO DO CHART for the next three months (yes, i have a Things To Do Chart for the next three months, what of it?) and I note with interest that there's a whole heap of STUFF to be doing. I'm halfway through finishing the Season Finale for the first series of Totally Acoustic, for instance - this should be online by Thursday, and then we start all over again in March!

    Dinosaur Planet, meanwhile, enters its final furlong, with a string of gigs coming up culminating in a WEST END RUN (first night at The Old Coffee House on 8th February... also the final show) and then The Leicester Comedy Festival. If you've not seen myself and Mr Hewitt perform the paragon of modern theatre then i would URGE you to do so, for we shall not be doing it AGANE - possibly EVER, but definitely not for a good few years!

    For LO! the CONCEPT ALBUM version of said PIECE will be out later this year and, as I may have mentioned, it is going to be PRETTY DARN AMAZING. It is taking all my INNER STRENGTH to NOT put up samples of it for you to listen to (well, apart from what you can hear in that YouTube clip from the other day) because i KNOW it's going to be better if everyone hears it all in one go. I'm ALWAYS excited about our next release, but this one I am EXTRA excited about - there really is nothing out there anything LIKE this THING we have created, and if the NHS isn't already investing in BLOWN MIND REPAIR KITS then something is terribly wrong with our society.

    And talking of MIND BLOWING there is, of course, "Moon Horse" which has recently CANTERED to completion (or at least a first draft of same) and which I hope to discuss, along with a couple of OTHER projects which i shall keep beneath my HAT* at the moment, with Messrs Hewitt and Kell when I meet them this evening for a pre-gig PINT and CURRY. We're off to see Standard Fare et al at The Lexington, it has all the makings of an EXCELLENT evening!

    So yes, even though today is THAT day, there are at least fizzing sparks of fireworks yet to come in the... er... biscuit tin of the future. That makes sense, doesn't it? Now, where's my box of safety matches?

    * the hat i shall be keeping them beneath is one that I made MYSELF over the weekend out of a kitchen funnel, superglue, and a length of elastic. Once this hat is painted SILVER it shall be the finest CHAPEAU ever created!

    posted 4/1/2011 by MJ Hibbett
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